Hello, and welcome to ATK Magazine’s 2013 year-end review and 2014 New Year’s resolutions. Okay, I know we’re a magazine and we probably shouldn’t be making new year’s resolutions but who said they are only for people? We’re using the new year to both say thanks to those of you, our lovely readers, who took the time to answer our reader survey during December and to put your answers to work… as goals. Thanks to all those who took out survey and congrats to our survey winner – Wendy! She wins a Hallyu and Korean culture prize pack.
But of course, this article is not just about what we’re planning to do in 2014… we also wanted to recap 2013 for you. And since I make 5 goals, we’ll let you know the 5 most-read articles from 2013 and our 5 favourite moments from writing.
Thanks to all of our lovely readers, 2013 was a banner year for ATK Magazine. It was both our first year under the name, ATK Magazine, and the 8th year of our previous incarnation, Life’s an Adventure 2. There were some growing pains but ultimately we came out stronger, better and with more focus. It was a year of ups and downs, it’s true, but so much of 2013 was fabulous and the parts that weren’t, we learned from. None of it could have happened without you! We had readers from 163 countries! Wow! Big surprise – most visitors came from the United States, although Canada & South Korea were not far behind. Thanks for reading!
Don’t worry, we have some exciting things planned for 2014
Our 5 Most-Read Articles
Our 5 Favourite Moments
This was the best, most amazing thing to happen in 2013 hands down! Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO) for sending me. Not only was it fabulous to be back in Korea after 4 1/2 years but it was super cool to see it from the eyes of a tourist – so different from living there. So amazing! Everyone involved – the organizers, the tour guides, the other participants – everyone was the best!
No Brain is one of my favourite bands. Notice I didn’t say “Korean bands”… they are one of my favourite bands. I love them as musicians and I got to interview them when they came to Canadian Music Week last March. It was one of my first live interviews and I was beyond nervous, I was shaking so badly but they were fantastic, funny and super nice. They made me feel so comfortable. If I didn’t already love them, the interview would have made me a fan. And then to see them live again (I saw them in Seoul when I lived there) was just icing on the cake, beyond cool – they have so much energy on stage. If you don’t know their music – listen now!
3. Starting ATK Magazine
Turning Life’s an Adventure 2 into ATK Magazine was a dream come true and the first stage into writing professionally. Sure, there were ups and downs. But even with everything, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The fact that ATK Magazine is becoming a respected publication is beyond wonderful. I love that people turn to us to find out what’s happening in Toronto (even some Korean-Canadian friends do). I hope to keep building ATK Magazine into your one-stop shop for “all things Korean” in Toronto.
It’s so fascinating to conduct interviews, to speak with someone who’s artistic – whether they are a filmmaker, a musician, a writer or a visual artist – speaking with someone with artistic vision is always a highlight of my week. One of those moments that’s just cool. Interviewing Jeong Byeong Gil (정병길) was amazing because he was not only the first Korean film director that I interviewed, but also because I love film. Seeing the creative process, to me, is endlessly fascinating.
5. Having Korean bands reach out to us
We’ve had a couple of Korean bands contact us – either directly or through a promoter – when they are coming to Toronto. This is super cool. I love music. And more importantly, our lovely readers love music. So being able to provide you with information on groups coming here and help promote them too – it’s a win-win situation. Plus it means we’re doing something right! And hopefully more bands, groups… even K-pop stars will come to Toronto.
Bonus: Fabulous people
We love all the wonderful people we’ve connected to – our lovely readers, our Twitter followers, the people we’ve interviewed, those I’ve met at events and festivals, and of course, those I met in Korea. I’ve made some great friends, had some fun conversations, and just met some cool people. You all are the reason that I get out of bed early to write (when I’m not a morning person). So don’t stop reading, commenting, tweeting, and chatting in person. You guys are fabulous! ^^
Our 5 Goals for 2014
1. Regular articles
Now we used to do this and from our reader feedback, you want us to post regularly. So we are going to return to regularly posting at least 3 articles each week on all the topics you love – films, dramas, music, food, culture, cosmetics, restaurant reviews, travel posts, living in Korea as a foreigner and more. Plus some fun articles on those aspects of Korean culture – big and small – that as a non-Korean, I find interesting, odd or just fun.
2. Monthly Korean cooking videos
Now we’ve been flirting with this idea for ages and I’ve even done one. And from our survey, you love the idea. So we’re going to do monthly Korean cooking videos. I love to cook, I love Korean food and it sounds like you love cooking videos so I’m going to pretend I’m not crazy nervous about being on camera… And to make it a little more special, we’re going to try to do each video, each recipe in English and Korean. It will give me practice speaking Korean – I’ll get help with the Korean though because if you’ve ever heard me speak Korean… you’ll want someone else doing it too. ^^ So you’ll get a Korean cooking video and Korean lesson all wrapped up in one. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Korean, it’ll be in English too! Stay tuned for the first one coming up the end of January!
3. More interviews
One of the things you love are interviews – every time we ask you about them, you tell us you want more. You, our lovely readers, love them and I’ll admit I do too. So even though interviewing people makes me crazy nervous, it’s so much fun to talk to all the fabulous people and find out just a little bit about how they came up with a song, a story, a film or a character; what inspires them. I know when I read interviews, I always feel closer to whomever I’m reading about, like we’re having a conversation so I want to bring you more of that. So we are going to bring you more interviews. Not only of the Korean artists that come to Toronto but also Korean-Canadian artists (musicians, filmmakers, visual artists, authors) who are doing cool things here.
4. More writers
We’re going to continue to seek additional writers. We want to bring you different perspectives, articles, and topics. I love Korean culture and sharing my love affair with Korea with you but I want you to experience more than just my views. I want to bring you a more balanced ATK Magazine. So you can see what others love about Korean culture, what they find interesting or wacky. Or if they are Korean or Korean-Canadian, what they want non-Koreans to know about Korea. So we are going to continue to search for those interesting and inspiring writers. Don’t worry, we haven’t given up on this, nor will these articles replace mine as I will continue to write regularly.
5. More pictures
Everybody loves photos. I love taking photos and while I may sometimes take too many, or spend too much time on Instagram, I’m going to put that love to work and bring you more photos. More photos of events, of food, of musicians. You see, sometimes we attend events or festivals where it doesn’t really work for an article – or at least not a long one – but there’s always something cool and interesting things to take pictures of. And in conjunction with more photo articles, we’ll also post more on our Tumblr account. Yep, we have one but didn’t really use it much but it’s a great place to post more photos!
Stay tuned tomorrow for an article about our favourite films of 2013!